Article 213 Current Affairs

President approves ordinance allowing Kambala in Karnataka

President Pranab Mukherjee has approved the promulgation of The Prevention of cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Amendment) Ordinance, 2017 by the Governor of Karnataka in pursuance of Article 213 of Constitution.

The promulgated ordinance legalises Kambala, bullock cart races and bull runs as traditional sports involving animals and exempt them from The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.

Background

In November 2016, the Karnataka High Court had banned the kambala along with bull-cart race in the state while hearing a case filed by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) citing animal cruelty. The high court had stayed these traditional sports in view of the Supreme Court’s ban on jallikattu, a traditional bull taming sport of Tamil Nadu.

Following protests by people and kambala organisers, Karnataka Assembly had passed an ordinance Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Amendment) Bill, 2017 in February 2017 to allow Kambala. In April 2017, the Union Home Ministry asked the state government to modify the Bill (ordinance). The state government made the modifications and sent it back to the union government. Earlier in June 2017, the Union Ministry of Law and Justice had cleared the modified bill (ordinance).

About Kambala

Kambala is the traditional slush track buffalo race that is held annually in coastal districts of Karnataka to entertain rural people of the area. Slushy/marshy paddy field track is used for Kambala. The sports season generally starts in November and lasts till March. The contest generally takes place between two pairs of buffaloes, each pair race in two seprate wet rice fields tracks, controlled by a whip-lashing farmer.

In the traditional form of Kambala, buffalo racing was non-competitive and buffalo pairs ran one by one in paddy fields. Besides, there was also ritualistic approach as some agriculturists race their buffaloes as a means to thank the god for protecting their animals from disease. But in recent times, Kambala has become an organised rural sport.

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Union Government clears Tamil Nadu’s Ordinance on Jallikattu

The Union Government has Tamil Nadu government’s proposal to promulgate an ordinance to hold Jallikattu, a traditional bull taming sport.

The Union Ministries of Home, Law and Environment has vetted the state’s draft ordinance and cleared the amendment. Now, Tamil Nadu Governor can promulgate ordinance as per Article 213 of the constitution.

Key Facts
  • It was mandatory for Tamil Nadu government to get a nod from the Centre as subject in this regard was falling in the Concurrent list of the Constitution.
  • The ordinance will denotify the bull from the list of performing animals. This will ensure that provisions of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (PCA), 1960 will not apply to the bull.
  • It will circumvent Supreme Court imposed ban on Jallikattu in May 2014. The apex court had banned use of bull as performing animals including traditional events like Jallikattu, bullock-cart races.

Jallikattu is bull-taming sport and an age-old annual event celebrated during Pongal (Harvest festival) in Tamil Nadu. It is one of the oldest living ancient traditions practiced in the modern era. Read more

Article 213 of Constitution: It gives legislative power to Governor i.e. state executive.  Governor can promulgate ordinances when legislative assembly (incase of unicameral legislature) is not in session i.e. recess or both houses of state legislature (incase of bicameral legislature) if there is urgent need to have a law on some urgent public matter. The promulgated ordinance has similar effect to a law enacted by the state legislature. However, every ordinance must be laid and approved state legislature (or legislative assembly) within 6 weeks from the reassembling. If not placed and approved by both houses of the state legislature ( or legislative assembly) after reassembling it lapses or becomes invalid.

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